Algarve’s “biggest nativity scene” opens on Friday in VRSA

It is described as the “biggest nativity scene in the Algarve and one of the biggest in the country” and will be inaugurated at 6.30pm on Friday at Vila Real de Santo António’s Cultural Centre.

Created using over 20 tons of sand, four tons of rock dust and 2,500 kilos of cork, the nativity scene is admired not only for its sheer immensity but also its level of detail.

To keep things interesting, the display will feature new figures and also use LED lighting and a sound system to make it even more realistic. There will also be recreations of Christian and pagan events associated to the festive season.

The nativity scene took 40 days and 2,500 hours of hard work to make, with preparations beginning almost as soon as the previous one had been taken down.

It is created every year by Augusto Rosa and Teresa Marques, two council workers who are helped by several volunteers.

According to the local council, the nativity scene has become so popular that it attracts not only Portuguese but also Spanish, Dutch, German, French and British visitors.

The nativity scene will be open to visits every day until January 6, between 10am and 1pm and 2.30pm and 7pm.